Thursday, June 23, 2016

Reading Strategies Goal 1 Supporting Pre-Emergent & Emergent Readers

Welcome to our book study of The Reading Strategies Book: Your Everything Guide to Developing Skilled Readers by Jennifer Serravallo! I am joining forces with some other fabulous teacher bloggers to discuss the reading strategies we come across in this AMAZING professional text!  If you missed my first post about this book study, you can find it here, along with a suggested way to set up your book for easy reference.

Because this book isn't your typical professional development book filled with individual "chapters" of narrative, each teacher blogger will be giving you a glimpse into the 13 goals that are represented in the text. Each goal area is filled with many valuable strategies that will help you to support and guide your students as they become better readers.  Keep in mind we are only highlighting a FEW strategies in each section, there are 300 strategies in the whole book.

One of the things that I love about  this book is that it supports a wide range of readers.  I don't know about your class, but my students always seem to come to me with a wide range of abilities.  As a 4th grade teacher, my class last year had students reading at the Pre-Primer level all the way up to high school level readers!  This book can support them all!  I also want to point out, that I believe in "teaching the reader not the level".  Sometimes students may read at a certain level, but be missing some key skills and strategies.  That is one of the beauties of using strategies, you can work with multiple reading levels often at the same time.

Even before reading this particular book, I have been a huge Jennifer Serravallo fan! I own most of her other books and I regard her as one of the best literacy consultants out there!  I love that she shares her expertise so eloquently, and in such a user friendly way!

We are going to go through the goals in order, so we will be starting with Goal 1: Supporting Pre-Emergent and Emergent Readers.  In this section, there are twenty strategies given to support your most beginning readers.  I have a picture below of the strategies listed in this particular goal from the book.

As you can see, Serravallo  includes the strategy title, the level the strategy is appropriate for, the genre to use the strategy with, and the skills the particular strategy help to develop.  I have picked three of these strategies to focus on.  

Focus Strategy 1: The WHOLE and Teeny-Tiny Details

I chose to focus on this strategy because although it is listed as a strategy for emergent readers, I think it would make a great introduction to main idea and supporting details for your older readers.  I find my students really STRUGGLE with this skill, and this is a great way to engage them into the idea of the parts that make up the WHOLE.

In this strategy, you would have the students focus on what a whole page of non-fiction might be about and then what particular smaller parts might be about.  Some of the suggested prompts include

"Say, 'This whole page is about...'"

and "Now zoom in on a small part. Say what you're learning."

I think these really give a concrete representation to what main idea and details are about.

Anchor chart taken from The Reading Strategies Book

Focus Strategy 2: Characters Do, Characters Say

This is another strategy that can easily be applied to older readers.  One of the 4th grade reading standards, RL.4.3 asks students to describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a characters thoughts, words, or actions).  This strategy asks the reader to look at a picture book and tell what the character is doing and what she is saying.

In the particular example that Serravallo uses in the book, the character doesn't say anything on the first page, so she actually infers what the character might say.  Making inferences is another skill that older readers often struggle with as well.

I love the book The Great Fuzz Frenzy, and I have used it for similar lessons to this one.

There are a lot of great illustrations that you can show your students and ask them to describe the character based on what they are doing, saying, and thinking.

Make sure the students give you evidence to WHY they answered the way they did.

Focus Strategy 3: Act It to Storytell It

My students absolutely LOVE this strategy.  They love having the chance to act things out and ham it up a bit.  In this strategy you ask the student to use their "face, body, and voice to bring the story to life."  You might use the book The Great Fuzz Frenzy again, specifically the part where Big Bark says that he stole the fuzz (pictured above).  You might read the words without showing the illustration and ask your students to act it out.  Then show them the illustration so they can compare their actions to the ones imagined by the illustrator.

Many students, particularly those who struggle with comprehension have not figured out how to "make a movie in their head" as they read.  This strategy is particular helpful in having them slow down and really picture what is happening in the story.

If you would like to purchase the books mentioned above, you can find them here.

Other books by this author that I LOVE!

This post contains affiliate links. I earn a small commission each time someone makes a purchase using one of my links, which helps to support the blog.  All opinions are my own and I only promote brands and products that I have used myself and truly love. 

Don't forget to check back next Thursday with Hilda from M&M Bilingual who will be hosting goal 2!

We would LOVE to read your posts about this book as well!  If you have written a blog post about this book, feel free to link up below!


  1. Hi Kelly,
    I ordered my copy of this book and can't wait to receive it so that I can start to read it! I'm looking forward to being part of the study group too!
    ღ Diane

    1. I hadn't heard of the book, The Great Fuzzy Frenzy! I'm going to add that to my list of books to buy for next year!

    2. YAY! We can't wait to have you join us! I love finding new ideas and great reads!

  2. Hi! Love this blog. I bought Jennifer's book last year. This year we received boxes of PD books from our district. Jennifer's book was one of them. I was so excited! I am definitely going to advice teachers to read this blog. Also, thank you for including the literature you use with the strategies. Will be buying The Great Fuzz Frenzy soon.

    1. Thank you so much! Your comment made my day! I also bought the book last year myself and our school then purchased them for our staff. It is nice to have a copy at home and at school for planning! I will definitely be sharing not only books I use with the strategies, but some other forms and helpful tips, so make sure you keep following along! I would also LOVE to hear any ideas you have as well!

  3. Good Day Kelly,

    Thank you so much for sharing!!! I am from Paulina Croskey's school and I second the emotion - I love this blog! I know our teachers will appreciate what you are sharing!

    1. Thank you so much for your kinds words! You and Paulina made my day!


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